Coin shop owner busted in burglary ring investigation
By BRETT CIHON
Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer
January 21, 2012 · Updated 9:12 AM
The owner of Port Orchard Coin & Pawn is in jail on charges related to a burglary involving the theft of gold coins and jewelry from a safe he helped install in the house of an Olalla woman who had been a customer at his shop.
Michael Everdean, 54, was arrested recently at his business at 825 Bay St. on charges of leading organized crime and first-degree trafficking in stolen property. He’s in custody at the Kitsap County jail with bail set at $50,000.
According to Deputy Scott Wilson, information officer for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Everdean’s arrest stemmed from the Dec. 15 burglary of a Banner Road home, where approximately $96,000 worth of jewelry and coins was stolen from a safe.
On Dec. 29, detectives arrested two men and a 19-year-old woman, all South Kitsap residents, who are suspected in an extensive burglary ring operating in Kitsap, Pierce and Jefferson Counties. According to charging documents filed in Kitsap County District Court, the two men admitted to investigators that they broke into the Olalla house and stole coins and jewelry, and the female suspect said one of the men had called and made an appointment with the homeowner at her Port Orchard business to get her out of the house.
The homeowner, who’s lived in Olalla for 26 years, told the Port Orchard Independent that she had done business with Everdean in the past, and that he had helped put the safe in her house. But the last contact she had with him was at his shop last spring — when she “purchased something and thought it was a little overcharged” — until he called her a week before the burglary at her home.
When she discovered that someone had broken into her safe, she suspected Everdean may have been involved.
“It was actually my first intuition, but I didn’t want to believe it,” she said.
The two men arrested in the investigation claimed Everdean drove them by the house and told them about the safe.
The burglary victim said her safe was attached to the floor with 4-inch lag bolts, and the thieves “took my two splitting mauls and my axe and beat it open.”
The female suspect, who allegedly was the driver for the two male suspects during multiple burglaries, told sheriff’s deputies that after the Olalla break-in, she drove them to the Port Orchard Coin & Pawn after hours. She said Everdean let them in through the back door and cash was exchanged for a portion of the safe’s contents. The woman said she had driven the two men to the coin shop upwards of 10 times following the burglary.
A search warrant was obtained by the sheriff’s office for Port Orchard Coin and Everdean’s home, and deputies found two boxes of coins and other stolen property. Officers subsequently got a search warrant for a safe deposit box registered to Everdean at Kitsap Credit Union and retrieved several boxes and books of coins, including some matching the description of what was stolen from the safe.
The Olalla homeowner said a small amount of her stolen property, including a Taurus .45 caliber handgun, has been returned to her.
Stan Weston, the owner of A+ Bail Bonds at 823 Bay St., said it was no surprise that Everdean was breaking the law.
“Nobody knew for sure what he was doing,” Weston said. “But the merchants were becoming uneasy because of the odd hours and the type of guys coming in and out.”
According to Weston, Port Orchard police first approached Everdean and his partner, Bruce Newell, sometime in November after reports that Port Orchard Coin wasn’t following a law requiring pawn shop owners to check a felony registry before buying precious metals.
Though the visit by police seemed routine, Weston said this alerted authorities to Everdean’s increasingly erratic behavior. He said Everdean would open his shop late at night and was seen buying gold and silver from “sketchy characters.”
Weston said he was not the only downtown business owner upset and concerned by Everdean’s actions.
“The guy upstairs complained (to Everdean),” Weston said. “I know one or two merchants who told him to wizen up. Nobody knew for sure what he was doing. We knew it wasn’t right.”
Weston said he could never have imagined the scope of Everdean’s alleged criminal activity at his business, which was a participating member in the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce’s Shop SK First program. Weston said he was surprised to learn that Everdean may be a leader of a burglary ring.
“Everyone was surprised by the enormity of it,” Weston said. “We knew he was up late, but to lead people to steal a safe he installed. That’s huge.”
Newell, the former co-owner of the now-defunct Port Orchard Coin, said he knew Everdean had been acting strangely, but he had no idea of his allegedly illegal dealings. Newell said though he had $41,000 invested in the business, Everdean sometimes operated on his own accord.
“I really didn’t know what was going on,” Newell said. “I knew he was doing something. I thought it was drugs.”
Newell, who had operated the business during the day for two years, said it was impossible to keep tabs on Everdean, especially when he worked in the evening. Newell tried to walk away from the business a couple of times because of Everdean’s mercurial nature, but ultimately was afraid to forgo his investment.
“I wanted to quit twice,” he said. “There are two sides to Mike. He could be a super nice guy and he could be real violent.”
Port Orchard Coin has been closed down ever since Everdean was arrested, Newell said, and there are no plans to reopen it. He said if Everdean was committing crimes, he should go to prison.
“He had to know what he was doing was wrong,” Newell said. “And he’s going to pay for it.”
Editor Tim Kelly contributed to this report.Contact Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer Brett Cihon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-876-4414.